Investigative Process

The Office of Investigations

The Amtrak Office of Inspector General Office of Investigations comprises a multifaceted group of professionals responsible for conducting a wide variety of investigations into criminal, civil, and administrative violations. Our investigators are supported by robust digital forensics and data analytics teams. The Office of Investigations focuses primarily on identifying and preventing fraud, waste, and abuse, which includes investigating suspected crimes committed by Amtrak employees, contractors, or members of the public. We also maintain a fraud, waste, and abuse hotline that allows confidential reporting of suspected crimes, wastes of funds, or unethical or dangerous conduct by Amtrak employees, contractors, or vendors.

The Office of Investigations regularly supports cross-agency law enforcement task forces and investigations where Amtrak funds or employees may be involved, and we work regularly with other OIGs, the FBI, and state and local law enforcement officials. Our investigations are referred to the Department of Justice and/or state and local prosecutors for criminal prosecution or civil litigation.

The Investigative Process

Our Office of Investigations has been granted statutory law enforcement authority as authorized by the United States Attorney General in accordance with the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended. This empowers our agents to carry firearms, make arrests, seek and execute search warrants, serve subpoenas, administer oaths, and have access to all records of Amtrak.

In many instances, our investigations begin because an individual stepped forward to report suspected wrongdoing through our hotline. Amtrak employees and members of the public provide information to the OIG concerning a wide variety of allegations, including procurement fraud, employee misconduct, theft, conflicts of interest, and safety and policy violations. The OIG also receives information from local and federal law enforcement agencies and through the use of confidential informants and other sources of information.

We take all allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse seriously. However, not all allegations or hotline complaints result in an investigation. Depending on the type of allegation or complaint, some may be referred to Amtrak management for action, referred to our Office of Audits for review, or referred to Amtrak customer relations.

Our investigative process can be described most succinctly with one word – thorough. While each case is unique, our investigative approach generally involves receiving information, analyzing the information to determine if a crime or administrative violation has been committed, and determining whether the crime or violation is related to Amtrak or its employees. Our team collects information through interviews, the issuance of subpoenas, and an array of investigative techniques to create a comprehensive picture of events and individuals related to the allegation.  

Once an investigation is complete, we prepare a report that summarizes our findings and the key facts uncovered by our investigators. If the case is criminal or civil in nature, we report our findings to the United States Attorney’s Office in the appropriate judicial district and/or state and local prosecutors. If the case is administrative in nature, such as a policy violation by an employee, the report is issued to Amtrak management for appropriate action.